The Kraken lawyers are tired of being characterized as “overwrought, dangerous lunatics” and don’t want to be disbarred. In a brief filed with the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, lawyers Sidney Powell, Julia Haller, Brandon Johnson, Howard Kleinhendler and Gregory Rohl argued that a lower district court judge had been intemperate in sanctioning them for bringing a meritless voter fraud complaint into court. One of their arguments in their defense is “millions of Americans believe the central contentions of the complaint to be true, and perhaps they are.”
Of course, it’s precisely because these lawyers committed fraud and participated in promulgating “The Big Lie” that millions of Trump voters came to believe the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Here they show no contrition, continue to insist their false claims might be true, and raise their own crime as a defense.
It has become a familiar line of argument, and not only in court and not just with respect to voter fraud. Last week, I wrote about a Mississippi state senator who justified introducing an anti-Critical Race Theory bill despite finding no evidence that the theory is being taught in his state’s schools and universities by saying he had “enough constituents that were concerned over this” that something had to be done. In other words, people were deceived in such high numbers that he had to act as though the lie were actually true in order to satisfy their demands. He had to pass a law to deal with a problem that doesn’t exist. That’s not much different that bringing a legal case that has no merit because millions of people are suffering from the delusion that the case does have merit.
Greg Sargent has another example. In this case, it’s a Senate candidate in Pennsylvania who falsely claims that there is rampant voter fraud in Philadelphia.
This trend, which Democratic operatives are closely tracking and highlighting, is metastasizing. This week, former hedge funder David McCormick, who’s running for Senate in Pennsylvania, attacked the “lack of oversight in many of the precincts of Philadelphia.”
“The majority of Republican voters in Pennsylvania do not believe in the outcome of the election,” McCormick said, claiming the only way to ensure “an accurate election in 2024” is to elect more Republicans.
Note that McCormick effortlessly glides from claiming the problem is merely that GOP voters “don’t believe” Trump lost to insisting our election outcomes actually are suspect. Thanks to urban centers, naturally.
We can see how this trick works. You can choose to spread the lies yourself or to merely point to the widespread belief in the lies. Actually, you can do both if you want to.
Many years ago, a friend of my brother gifted him two South African cats. Looking for a good name for the male cat, by brother chose Tokoloshe. This was a damn cool cat with a damn cool name. In South African lore, the Tokoloshe is mythic dwarf-like creature with a penis so big it slings it over its shoulder. It comes in the night and steals your life, and the best protection is to prop your bed up on bricks so he can’t reach you. This also has the benefit of helping you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning from that little fire in your hut. So, you know, believing in the myth has advantages.
But it can also have disadvantages. Like you can be duped out of your money.
Today, the Tokoloshe is a big part of South African culture. They are making headlines throughout the country regularly. The townspeople still believe that the Tokoloshe is out there, summoned by someone envious of their success. Sellers of muti (traditional medicine), who have small shops in South Africa, often sell products to protect against this supernatural being. These products include a concoction made from tokoloshe fat. You smear it on your skin as a repellant.
It’s true that people believe in the Tokolosch but that doesn’t make it okay to sell fake Tokolosch fat as a repellant. There’s no reason to pass a law that purports to protect people from the Tokolosch even if constituents flood your inbox with demands that something be done. And you sure as hell can’t justify going into court and blaming the Tokolosch for your party’s electoral losses. Worst of all, is if you do these things when you’re a big part of the reason people are afraid of the fictional Tokolosch in the first place.
The Republican Party is doing these things to win elections and to make money, and it’s tearing our country apart. It’s tearing Canada apart, too.
Myths don’t have to be true to cause real destruction.